Recently the state of Texas put in an anti-abortion law that seemingly goes against Roe v Wade, and therefore the Constitution.
The bill analysis states that this law “would prevent abortions from being performed or induced once a fetal heartbeat is detected unless there is a medical emergency as defined under Health and Safety Code Section 171.002(3).”
This law essentially eliminates a woman’s ability to have an abortion due to the time constraint, as many women are not even aware they are pregnant at six weeks.
Although particularly upsetting for women’s rights activists, the logistics of this law should cause some concern from every American regardless of their stance on abortion.
The bill does not purely stop abortions, it allows for the deputization of citizens.
Due to the passage of Roe v Wade, the creators of this new bill had to find an alternate way to prohibit abortions without the government stepping in. In order to do so, the bill allows for Texas physicians to be sued by other citizens for up to $10,000.
The bill analysis states that “the physician is prohibited from knowingly performing or inducing an abortion and can be held civilly liable.” Although the women who receive the abortion cannot be sued, this still threatens the ability for women to have an abortion as it threatens the abortion industry itself.
In coherence with the supreme court’s decision on Roe v Wade, the bill clearly “Prohibits enforcement […] by this state, a political subdivision, a district or county attorney, or an executive or administrative officer or employee of this state.”
Because of this clear prohibition of government interference the majority of the supreme court decided that this law could be put in place prior to being fully examined. However, those that dissented feel this bill was purely a way to work around the law.
Justice Breyer wrote in his dissenting opinion that the prohibition of the government’s influence in abortions also prohibits the government from delegating others to do so.
With the allowance of this bill comes the question: If Texas is allowed to deputize their citizens against a constitutional right such as abortions, what is stopping another state from weaponizing citizens against another constitutionally protected right such as the right to bear arms?
Justice Sonia Sotomayor stated in her dissent that this bill “deputized the State’s citizens as bounty hunters, offering them cash prizes for civilly prosecuting their neighbors’ medical procedures.” Utilizing citizens as “bounty hunters” is a concern to many and could signal a real threat to our already divided nation.
Regardless of one’s political or ideological stance the allowance of this law signals a new age in America; one that may be more divided than ever.